The Senate will remain in pro-forma session next week, a step that will prevent President Obama from making any recess appointments during the Memorial Day break, including a much-anticipated potential appointment of Elizabeth Warren as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., spokesman Jon Summers said the pro-forma session will occur because Republicans refused to agree to allow the Senate to adjourn, which is normally done by unanimous consent. Summers said Democrats, regardless, were not expecting recess appointments.
All 47 Senate Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wrote to Reid on Thursday urging him to postpone the week-long Memorial Day recess until Democrats put forward a fiscal 2012 budget plan. Democrats have delayed releasing a budget until deficit-reduction talks led by Vice President Joe Biden run their course. Republicans charge that Democrats have shirked their responsibility to set legislative priorities and draft a plan. The House passed its budget last month.
Senate Budget ranking member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., was the first Republican this week to threaten to object to adjourning without a budget.
Senate GOP leadership aides have previously noted they lack the power to prevent adjournment, saying Democrats can force an adjournment by a majority vote. Several conservative senators this week asked House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to use a rarely tapped power to prevent the Senate from recessing for more than a few days, thus blocking any appointments. Aides to Boehner and McConnell were considering the request, spokesman for both said Thursday.
"President Obama has been packing federal agencies with left-wing ideologues, but thankfully he won't be able to for at least the next week," Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who signed the letter to Boehner, said in a statement on Thursday.